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Since I started blogging diligently from 2012, I’ve been learning a lot about ingredients that (sadly) didn’t work for my skin. I’m telling you, it needs a lot of trial & error to find out (but I guess it’ll be rewarding in the end). But, having oily skin that prone to clogged pores and such, it’s really that hard. Anyway, these are based on my personal experiences.
ANYTHING WITH BUTYLENE GLYCOL I’m telling you it is very hard to find a skincare product which doesn’t have Butylene Glycol in it. Apparently, it is needed to increase the skin penetration by other ingredients. Unfortunately, it has comedogenic rating based on incidecoder.com.
ANYTHING WITH CENTELLA ASIATICA I’ve discussed this with dr.Eche Idrus, Board Certified Dermatovenereologist from Makassar, Indonesia. If you have active acnes, forget this ingredient, as it might trigger more. Some people also might also experience irritation with this natural ingredient. But again, it depends on how our skin reacted to this. Unfortunately, on me, it just can’t.
ANYTHING WITH MINERAL OIL I’ve been having acne problems for most of my life, and mineral oil can exacerbate it. It’s true what they said that it clog and suffocate pores.
ANYTHING WITH DIMETHICONE Yes, it is the most common silicone used in skincare products. It’s great for makeup primer and such, but covering my sensitive pores is just not my thing.
Hope things are fine with you all. For those of you who are still in a job and having fixed income in this pandemic situation, congratulations, you are lucky. But for those who are not (including yours truly), we really have to save some money and lose some things that we don’t urgently need.
Currently here are some products that I decided not to repurchase, not just because I’m in a saving mode, but I don’t think they really belong in my skincare routine. Anyway, these are just my personal opinions. Your final verdict is up to you.
I DITCHED EYE CREAM After I had undereyes filler done by dr. Olivia Ong at Jakarta Aesthetic Clinic, and Milia removal done at Beauty By Appointment, I only use emulsion (which is lighter in texture than moisturizer) on the whole face, including undereyes. Seriously, all that fancy eye creams can’t do wonders for dark circles and undereye bags (you need stronger treatment than just applying eye cream). Especially if you’re prone to milia like me, better pick your products wisely.
Most essences are pricey. Usually they come in a luxurious looking glass bottle, but do we really need one? Essence might help with hydration, but I can get that from my current booster and hydrating toner.
If I need to mist some on my face, I’ll just put my hydrating toner in an empty mist bottle. Anyway, most face mists are either having hydrating or soothing purpose.
BYE WASH-OFF & PEEL-OFF MASK Both are not practical, I am done with the hassle of washing them off. Do not add stress to an already stressful time in life. I prefer to use sheet mask and modeling mask.
Been there, done that. My pores seem to dislike face oil, even though I already tried the so-called ‘good oil for oily skin’. Personally, I believe if you want that glowing skin, don’t fake it with face oil. But I still use cleansing oil for double cleanse, just because it’ll be wash off anyway.
They’re confident enough to call this ‘Liquid Gold’. Does it live up to its’ name?
So, I started to buy the travel size (30ml) ones, like last year (and compare to 2020, 2019 was a great year). And because it worked so well on my skin, then I decided to splurge and purchased the 100ml ones.
PRICE? In Sephora Indonesia, 100ml cost IDR673K.
WHAT’S IN IT? Only 9 ingredients (another minimal ingredients winner!): Aqua (Water), Alcohol Denat, Glycolic Acid, Glycerin, Hydrolyzed Silk, Potassium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract.
CLAIM: Effectively diminish wrinkles, pigmentation and sun damage.
HOW DOES IT FIT INTO MY SKINCARE ROUTINE (2x/week): Double Cleanse (Oil Cleanse & Foam Cleanse) LIQUID GOLD
MY THOUGHTS: I believe it’s a very clever skincare product. In one easy step, it works as a toner, chemical exfoliator, serum and moisturizer. On a very tiring night, it’s a savior. On this pandemic time, when we can’t visit beauty clinic to do facial, this will be a wonderful ‘overnight facial’. Their hero ingredient is Glycolic Acid, an AHA which works to exfoliate our skin, not just on the surface but on the walls of our pores as well. So it really helps to reduce the build-up of cells in pores that lead to breakouts. That’s why it worked wonderfully on my skin pores. I applied twice a week, but when I feel like a pimple is going to get bigger, I will apply this with cotton pad (recommended to use one because the texture is watery) and it’ll eventually flatten the morning after. Yes, it stings (and still stings after months of using this), but it didn’t cause any redness or irritation on me. It is one strong active, but somehow they say it’s safe to use during pregnancy & breastfeeding. But beware for those who have sensitive skin, try to patch test first. Some people compared this to Biologique Recherche P50 Lotion, but having tried it also, Alpha H works better on my skin, easier to find and more affordable. And yes people, it is safe for Fungal Acne.
Check out my skin before and after using Alpha H Liquid Gold (please note that I use other skincare products too).
On me, it’s great for skin textures and acne scarring.
Check out the used cotton pad of mine (I already double cleanse before, so imagine that dirt and gunk were still there if I don’t use this).
As life is not simple right now, it’s best not to over-complicate our skincare regime by trying to understand those long lists of ingredients.
Yes, there are sites for help like skincarisma, folliculitisscout, cosdna and incidecoder to break them down. But, I truly believe keeping it simple is the best. Especially if your skin is troublesome like mine, it’s a good feeling to know that we don’t layer hundreds of ingredients on our skin.
Here, I will list my favorite minimal ingredients skincare products (that only use ten or less ingredients for each product), which are also safe for Fungal-Acne prone skin.
EAU THERMALE AVÈNE TOLÉRANCE EXTREME EMULSION Contains only 6 ingredients, this is a staple in my moisturizing routine. Because it is an emulsion, I found it lighter than any moisturizer.
SIMPLE KIND TO SKIN REFRESHING WASH GEL Made with only 9 ingredients, this is an affordable face cleanser (even for sensitive skin). Easy to find at our nearest drugstore. It is a face cleanser, so it cleanse. That’s it and don’t expect something magical out of it.
LA ROCHE-POSAY SEROZINC Basically it contains only 3 ingredients: water, sodium chloride and zinc. Truly a must have mist for me, I don’t dig mist with too much gimmicky stuffs.
AMORE PACIFIC VINTAGE SINGLE EXTRACT ESSENCE Minimal ingredients with maximum price (LOL). There’s only 6 ingredients inside this luxurious bottle of essence. If you have the budget to buy, splurge. But to tell you the truth, I skip essence step most of the time.
OK, I have to admit that I am one of DIY Pimple Pickers. Especially during these #stayathome period, I am getting worse.
Having all the time in the world to stare at magnifying mirror, and see those pesky pimples/whiteheads/blackheads. And you just can’t help it, but to pop them (especially if you have the tools to do so like me). Well, damages are done, so what can we do next? Read on, folks.
FRESH SCARS Personally, I consider myself lucky if the puss went out, when I picked them. But if the pores are open already and none came out, clean them right away and stick pimple patch, stat!
If the puss went out and nothing left in there, make sure you dry it with clean tissue (I never use rubbing alcohol to stop the bleeding, because it’ll irritate them more). Then I will apply A’PIEU MADECASSOSIDE AMPOULE on the fresh wound. Made from the infamous tiger grass, I believe it calms the open wound.
Then I’ll top it off with COSRX ADVANCED SNAIL 92 ALL IN ONE CREAM. Made from 92% of Snail Secretion Filtrate, it will help to repair and sooth red skin.
RELATIVELY NEW SCARS GOODAL GREEN TANGERINE VITA C DARK SPOT SERUM is my HG for older acne scars. Read my review here.
OLD SCARS Try microneedle aka derma rolling therapy at home. Read my older post here about it.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, EXFOLIATE! It’s super important to remove those dead skin cells away. You may have your own preferences on how to exfoliate your skin. Daily exfoliation with gentle exfoliating toner (currently using KLAIRS DAILY SKIN SOFTENING WATER).
Weekly exfoliation with ALPHA H LIQUID GOLD, alternating with DRUNK ELEPHANT A-PASSIONI RETINOL CREAM.
Lately, having #stayathome with lots of time to kill, I’ve been watching a lot of YT videos. And there’s one that I’m obsessed with: @labeautyologist.
In this video, she shared The Ultimate Self-Care Skincare Routine for maximum hydration & product penetration. It’s like her version of 10 steps skincare routine. They’re really different from the renowned Korean 10 steps, and personally it gets me because I want my skincare products to penetrate well into the skin. Mind you, this routine will involve 4 times of hydrating toner and only one active in later step.
These are her steps.
CLEANSE It can be double cleanse (she’s more into oil cleanser for makeup removal than micellar by the way) and continue with second cleanser.
TONE Function of toner: to increase absorption. So, she recommends to gently pat the toner (hydrating ones) before the next step (which is exfoliation) to make it works better.
EXFOLIATE Not a chemical exfoliation, she prefers the one that we can apply and take off (like peeling gel and enzyme scrub). Do not scrub harshly, just apply gently then rinse off with water.
TONE Yes, again to increase absorption of the next step, which is….
MASK She chose a hydrating mask, a wash-off ones.
TONE She said hydrating toner works best with hydrating serum.
SERUM If your skin is prone to irritation, apply hydrating serum before serum with actives like Niacinamide or Retinol. This is the only step that allow us to use one active, so choose wisely according to your skin needs. If you’re using prescribed product from your derm, this is the step.
TONE Last toner, to push the actives further down into the skin.
MOISTURIZE This goes before oil because moisturizer is a mixture of oil, water and emollient. And heavier oils (except squalane which is lighter) will block the absorption of moisturizer.
OIL If you use squalane, you can mix it with moisturizer. But other than that, oil is the last step. If you live in colder climate or you have very dry skin, opt for occlusive to lock in water.
This is why I love skincare and writing about them. There’s always new techniques to try, to learn and made me excited to see the result.
Somehow, this new routine kind of reminds me of 7 Skin Method (remember the toner layering?).
Usually, I do my double cleanse step inside the bathroom and continue the rest in my bedroom (because I never put my skincare products inside the bathroom, except cleansers). As these new 10 steps required 2 more rinsing steps with water (after exfoliate and mask steps), the thought of going back and forth to the bathroom seems daunting and uncomfortable.
I guess I won’t be doing this everyday morning and night, but I’ll try to simplify the steps with my choices of products (mostly FA safe). And doing this in the evening seems more reasonable as we are more chill, yes?
CLEANSE & EXFOLIATE Trilogy Rosehip Transformation Cleansing Oil – for oil cleanse Tatcha The Deep Cleanse – it is an exfoliating cleanser, so I use this as second cleanser to skip step number 3 and 4.
TONE Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner
MASK Freeman Deep Clearing Manuka Honey + Tea Tree Oil Clay Mask
TONE Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner
SERUM Alternate between Me+ Niacinamide & Zinc Booster or Drunk Elephant A Passioni Retinol Cream
TONE Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner
MOISTURIZE Eau Thermale Avene Tolerance Extreme Emulsion is my last step, as I try to avoid oil as most of them blocked my pores.